Catching a limit of fish on this venue usually is not hard to do.
But, transitioning from a 10 1⁄2-pound limit to nearly 16 pounds in a matter of 45 minutes is about as rare as winning the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.
Color Erik Zillig and his 14-year-old nephew Craig Zillig red hot.
The Zilligs were unaware they already had the competition won with their early limit.
“We got into a school of fish and both of us were catching them on virtually every cast of Super Spooks,” Erik Zillig said. “We caught approximately 70 fish and at least 40 of them were hooked between 2 o’clock and 2:45.”
The recently turned 41-year-old Paso Robles resident has fished this venue countless times growing up, but probably never like this.
“We culled at least 10 fish that weighed two or two-and- a-half pounds,” Erik Zellig said.
The final bag they brought to the scales at 3 p.m. weighed 15.80 pounds.
Their catch included the tournament’s big fish, a 4.40-pound largemouth.
It’s probably been decades since that heavy a limit has been caught on this venue. Wait a minute. You’re not going to believe this happened at Nacimiento Lake. Really!
In prior tourneys this year, the heaviest winning weight at Nacimiento Lake has been 14.19 pounds by Atascadero’s Brad Shepherd and Clark Endres. Winning weights in the 9-pound range are the norm.
Certainly weights in this range happened prior to when spotted bass and white bass took over the lake.
And this all happened in a tournament benefiting the American Cancer Society.
Erik Zillig has been entering his nephew in bass tournaments since Craig was 9 years old. But this day was a special one for the Tri Valley tournament Sunday.
“My grandma (Janice Zillig) was my best friend,” Craig Zillig said. “She died of cancer two-and-a-half years ago. And my grandfather (Martin Zillig of Galt) has been battling the disease for 16 years.”
Fourteen teams paid $100 per boat to participate in the King City Relay for Life event.
“I never considered keeping the winnings,” Erik Zillig said.
He returned $560 to the charity directors.
It was Craig Zillig’s first tournament win. He has a plaque to show his eighth-grade classmates at Atascadero Junior High. “We raised $1100 last Saturday, which was much more than we had expected in only our second event,” co-tournament director Mike Garza said. “Several teams returned their winnings.” Relay For Life Bass Tournament Top 3 Teams, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings 1. Erik Zillig, Paso Robles, Craig Zillig, Creston, 5, 15.80 pounds, $560; 2. Jason Ballew, Hollister, 5, 8.80 pounds, $280; 3. Herm DeLore, Atascadero, Brad Austin, San Miguel, 5, 8.00 pounds, $120. 1st Big Fish, 4.40 pounds, Zillig & Zillig.
When I caught up with Jared Lintner on Wednesday, he was in Oklahoma with his tour buddy Mike McClelland. They are between Bassmaster Elite tests. The next event at Lake Dardanelle begins May 15 in Russellville, Ark.
Reflecting on last week’s Toledo Bend tournament in Louisiana, Lintner wasn’t at all disappointed in his 11th-place finish.
“My approach was high risk, high reward,” he said. “On Day One I only had six bites and I got five of them in the boat to lead the tournament.”
His 25-pound, 7-ounce limit was the heaviest bag during the four-day event. The catch earned the $500 Berkley Heavyweight Award.
“I was flippin’ 80-pound braid line to pull fish out of what they call ‘Hay Grass,’ ” Lintner said. “It grows in two to six feet of water and is similar to vines you find in berry bushes. Each day the fish moved further back in the bushes.”
The 40-year-old from Arroyo Grande was in fourth place after day two’s 16-pound, 13-ounce limit for a 42-pound, 4-ounce weight. He moved up one spot with a day three bag of 17 pounds, 6 ounces. At 59 pounds, 12 ounces overall, he was 2 pounds, 12 ounces out of first place.
“I only lost two fish each on day two and three, but on Sunday I lost eight fish and caught just two for 7 pounds, 7 ounces,” Lintner said. “To win on this stage you almost need to fish flawlessly all four days.”
Lintner has earned $42,000. He remains in second place in the Angler of the Year standings with 350 points, 42 points behind Mark Davis, a three-time AOY winner.
Consistency pays in Tri Valley
Joey Reggio labeled the fishing at Lopez Lake “tough” but nonetheless he and his fellow Tackle Warehouse buyer, Brian Nawrocki, emerged as winners of the fifth Tri Valley Tournament on Sunday.
Reggio said he caught the event’s second-big fish (6.57 pounds) on a swimbait early. “We caught two on jigs, two cranking and a pair on swimbaits,” he said.reston teenager.
Nawrocki accounted for two of the fish weighed.
The first-year tandem has a second-, third- and fifth-place to go with their win in Tri Valley. Their 213 points has them in fifth place, 26 points back of Santa Maria’s Greg and Mike Higgins.
Tri Valley Bass
Number of Fish, Weight
1. Joey Reggio, San Luis Obispo, Brian Nawrocki, Atascadero, 6, 26.32 pounds; 2. Dana Chatterly, Larry Stephenson, Lompoc, 6, 22.14 pounds; 3. Jacob Lewis, Mark Moreno, Atascadero, 6, 19.40 pounds; 4. Robert Gardiner, Dale Litwiler, 6, 17.56 pounds; 5 Brad Shepherd, Clark Endres, Atascadero, 6, 17.14 pounds; 6. Frank Fernandes, Janet Ross, Santa Margarita, 5, 16.79 pounds; 7. Sheldon Waters, Kevin Hang, Lompoc, 6, 16.04 pounds; 8. Aaron Quarles, Nipomo, Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 5, 14.81 pounds; 9. Greg & Mike Higgins, Santa Maria, 6, 12.47 pounds; 10. Bill & Pat Twomey, Lompoc, 6, 10.72 pounds. 1st Big Fish, 6.60 pounds, Waters & Hang; 2nd Big Fish, 6.57 pounds, Reggio & Nawrocki.
The catch by 254 anglers May 1-4 included 204 lingcod, 947 red rockcod and 1,233 assorted rockfish.
Jackpot winners were John Mihal, Bakersfield, and Pat Pardue, Houston, both 14-0 lings; George Ortiz, Jr., Fresno, 13-0 ling; Mark Ayers, Los Osos, 12-0 ling; Dave Federoff, Fresno, Gene Suchand, San Luis Obispo, and Nick Martenz, Hanford, all 10-0 lings; Dick Van Dam, Tipton, 8-0 ling; and Kevin Scout, Madera, 5-0 red rockcod.
Morro Bay Landing
Early season jackpot winners were: Jordan Pattison, Hanford, 12-5 ling; Micah White, Paso Robles, 8-0 ling; and Omar Costellanos, Santa Cruz, 7-6 lingcod.
For reservations and more information, call 771-5500.
Sixteen anglers Monday caught 26 lingcod, 50 red rockcod, 110 assorted rockfish and 16 Dungeness crab. Roger York of San Luis Obispo took jackpot honors with a 10-pound ling. For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Twenty-seven boats were launched on the May 1 rockcod opener. Three-quarter limits were logged including 43 lingcod. No weekend records were kept.
For the April 30-May 4 open period, 37 anglers caught 11 trout and a 16.5-inch sucker. The biggest trout were 18.5 inches by James Taylor with PowerBait and 18-inchers by Josh Hansen and Jeremy Harkins both with worms. Other catches were: Fred Holder two 15-inchers; Harkins a 16.5-incher and a 16-incher on worms; Phil VonZee a 17-incher and Brandon Keips a 16-incher, both on PowerBait. Taylor also caught a 17-inch on PowerBait.
“Bass fishing has been fair to good using spinnerbaits, jigs and drop shotting,” marina manager Ken Hemer said. “There were some nice trout catches. A 4-pounder was caught trolling while limits of rainbows were caught by a shore fisherman at E Point. Crappie are being caught around the Cistern with mini jigs tipped with mealworms or by trolling Rapalas. Limits of catfish are being taken with cut mackerel in Santa Cruz Bay.”